A UNISON Scotland report Disconnected, published today, 30 November 2015, claims that ICT services should focus on better services. The report highlights that ICT systems are all too often seen as a way of providing cheaper rather than improved public services.
This UNISON report is qualitative research of ICT staff across Scotland working across a range of public services. In local government, NHS, housing associations, universities, the police and elsewhere.
It finds that ICT systems are central to all our public services, ICT departments are feeling the brunt of cuts, and many ICT experts are leaving public sector either through redundancies or to find work elsewhere and they not being replaced.
ICT staff say they are not listened to. That morale is low. When they give warnings of problems coming down the line they are ignored. They see big opportunities to improve public services wasted in favour of short term savings to budgets. They feel ICT is too often seen as a way of delivering cuts rather than improving delivery of public services for us all. There is a lack of awareness of the potential of ICT
In common with other public services ICT staff say they are stressed by too much work and not enough people to deliver it. Staff talk of a ‘circle of decline’
Dave Watson, head of UNISON bargaining and campaigns said, ‘ICT is often thought of in terms of the hardware however its success is reliant on ICT staff and their understanding of public services and how we interact with technology. Public services must meet complex needs and ICT has a central role to play in that, it simply needs harnessed properly.’
Dave continued, ‘Public services ICT workers could make a real contribution to improving our public services, if we invested in them to develop their ideas. However employers tend to adapt private sector solutions with big promises to save budgets instead. In fact we are seeing big cuts in ICT staff and their departments, so it is no wonder we see big ICT projects going over budget or failing altogether.’
- Full UNISON report Disconnected:
- UNISON Scotland is the public services union and the biggest union in Scotland. We represent ICT workers in public and community based services across Scotland